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Trump Comes Out On China And Russia

BN-RQ265_TRUMPW_GR_20170113205623.jpg?width=400President-elect Donald Trump suggested he would be open to lifting sanctions on Russia and wasn’t committed to a longstanding agreement with China over Taiwan—two signs that he would use any available leverage to realign the U.S.’s relationship with its two biggest global strategic rivals.

In an hourlong interview, Mr. Trump said that, “at least for a period of time,” he would keep intact sanctions against Russia imposed by the Obama administration in late December in response to Moscow’s alleged cyberattacks to influence November’s election. But he suggested he might do away with those penalties if Russia proved helpful in battling terrorists and reaching other goals important to the U.S.

“If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” he said.

He also said he wouldn’t commit to America’s agreement with China that Taiwan wasn’t to be recognized diplomatically, a policy known as “One China,” until he

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The Trump Effect On Currencies

trump-effect-on-currencies.jpg
Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

Rhetoric has already had an impact on currencies in a big way

Targeting companies or entire nations on Twitter is an unprecedented and controversial method of communication for a President-elect – but one can’t argue with its effectiveness so far.

In today’s chart, we take a look at Donald Trump’s rather unconventional form of “monetary policy”, and how it has potentially influenced the U.S. dollar and five other major currencies since his election in November.

Ready, Aim, Tweet

A preview of President-elect Trump’s “America First” directive can already be seen on Twitter.

Trump’s infamous account, which is followed by 18.8 million people, is being used every day to highlight the potential winners and losers of future policies.

And markets are listening.

Currency % Change (vs. USD)
Russian Ruble 7.7%
Canadian Dollar 0.4%
Chinese Yuan -1.5%
Euro -5.0%
Mexican Peso -13.4%

The above table shows change in the value of foreign currencies ag

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most-valuable-exports-middle-east.jpg?width=750We’ll start with the obvious: the number one export for many countries here is crude oil or related petroleum products. Middle Eastern countries made up a significant portion of global oil export revenues during 2015 with shipments valued at $325 billion or 41.3% of global crude oil exports.

Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, and Oman were all among the top 15 exporters of crude oil in 2015. Russia and Kazakhstan, countries on the Central Asian part of the map, were also members of that same group.

Regimes in the region found that there were many other corollary benefits from this economic might. Unrest could be stifled by rising wealth, and these countries would also have more influence than they otherwise would in global affairs. Saudi Arabia is a good example in both cases, though a major driver of Saudi influence has been slipping in recent years.

Outside of Oil

Aside from exports of oil, there are some other interesting subtleties to this map. One of the most

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Russian Stocks - Blood In The Streets

1291042?profile=RESIZE_320x3201291075?profile=RESIZE_320x320Russia's central bank raised interest rates last Friday from 9.5% to 10.5% in an effort to support the falling currency and battle inflation.  When that did nothing, they shocked markets by raising it again overnight from 10.5% to a whopping 17% in what some are calling an emergency move.  This was their sixth interest rate hike this year to support the currency.

The central bank early on Tuesday also increased the maximum volume of foreign currency it provides to Russian banks via its foreign-exchange repurchase agreement auctions for 28 days to $5 billion from $1.5 billion.

Sadly the RUB/USD barely moved. (left image - click to enlarge)

Russia's economy still depends in large measure on sales of oil and gas, which account for about two-thirds of exports, despite liberal policymakers calling for structural 1291096?profile=RESIZE_320x320economic reform for years.

1291106?profile=RESIZE_320x320That means swings in global oil prices have a significant impact on Russia's balance of payments, and therefore the rouble exchange rate.  This will c

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According to Ashraf Laidi:  The following sobering analysis on the S&P500 reinforces our expectations that recent record highs in US equity indices will not be revisited before at least six weeks.

A decline of at least 10% is expected to follow.

-        Last week’s 3.6% decline in the S&P500 single-handedly erased all of the prior seven weeks’ consecutive gains.SPX-Oct-207-vs-Now-Dec-15-530x179.jpg?width=530

The last time the S&P500 erased at least three weeks’ of consecutive gains was the week after the October 2007 record. Stocks fell more than 50% thereafter and took six years to regain that high.

-        And for an unprecedented finding, last week’s S&P5 500 decline took place after SEVEN weekly consecutive gains, which had NEVER been seen before in the index.

Seven consecutive weekly gains have occurred in the past (Aug-Jul 1989, Aug-Sep 1993, Apr-May 1997, Feb-Mar 1998, Dec 2003-Jan 2004, Apr-May 2007, Mar-Apr 2009, Dec 2010-Jan 2011, Jan-Feb 2013), but never in any of those cases has the streak-breaking week fallen by more

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Will Oil's Fall Damage The Rally?

1291003?profile=RESIZE_320x320I have to throw a flag in from the sidelines calling foul on the learned men on CNBCs Fast Money table Friday (video below) as traders remain bullish on the big screen.  In fact, they do not believe crude's fall will impact our rally.  Really?  Josh Brown stated there was 1291063?profile=RESIZE_320x320no correlation b/w the price of oil and the S&P500 and did their level best to downplay the selling in crude oil.  Alright, overlay a comparison chart (left) and you won't see black gold having an enormous impact on the market with a few exceptions BUT, the energy complex represents an average of 6.9% of U.S. GDP. 

If it's a bear market, this changes the scenery.  Come on Josh; there's much more that you're not saying and we know it.  Stay with me here.  So typically if we saw a ten percent correction in crude, another sector in the S&P would merely step up to the plate and help lead such as tech or financials.

This time, however, we see regional banks such a Cullen-Frost (who lend to oil names down here in Texas fo

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Countries Hurt By Lower Crude Oil

As the price of oil extends a free fall that began this summer, countries around the world that rely on oil revenues are bracing for an imminent economic and budget hit.  The drop is widening budget gaps in the Gulf states like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain that rely heavily on oil to pay government services.

With oil and gas production accounting for some 70% of Russia's government spending, Moscow also faces a big shortfall—after budgeting based on $100-a-barrel oil for 2015. Russia's economic growth was already slowing before the plunge in oil prices. Trade sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe—in response to the invasion of the Ukraine—will further crimp growth and government spending.

The impact of budget gaps among big producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia, though, will be softened somewhat by large reserves built up during boom years. But a protracted era of cheap oil would force them to undertake serious belt-tightening.

Note:  Click on a c

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Time To Get Back In Russia?

1290881?profile=RESIZE_320x3201290903?profile=RESIZE_480x480As the old saying goes, 'buy' when stocks are hated and there's blood in the streets but for the Russian market, one might want to sit on their hands before buying the Russian ETF RSX until Mr. Putin becomes more "market friendly".

It would seem Putin’s dream of making Russia one of the world’s five biggest economies by 2020 is now in ruins, according to Sergei Guriev, a former economic adviser to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who fled to Paris last year. He says it could have been achieved had Putin focused on delivering economic growth of 5 percent to 6 percent as promised.

“Russia had such a massive potential because of its inefficiencies that it was perfectly feasible to achieve this rate of economic growth,” said Guriev. “What changed is that the government decided not to fulfill its promises.”

1290930?profile=RESIZE_320x320According to Bloomberg The sentiment was different in 2000, when Putin replaced Boris Yeltsin. One of his early acts was to close Russia’s radar base in Cuba, the only intelligence-gath

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Pooty said in an hour-long TV interview on Thursday. “We sell gas in European countries which have around 30-35 percent of their gas balance covered by supplies from Russia. Can they stop buying Russian gas? In my opinion it is impossible.” Don't count your куры before they're hatched Pooty, old boy.

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Throwback Thursday Reads

  • No shocker here as the FTC issues a blistering rebuke of states limiting sales of TSLA direct consumer sales.
  • So much for the peace accord with Russia as they begin military exercises (WSJ)  Markets will not like this continued uncertainty.  Watch crude oil, gold, silver and copper.original-old-apple-logo.jpg?width=235  You will note that bonds $BND (flight to safe haven) have been holding up.  Not everyone is pouring money into equities.
  • The first regulation proposals are coming out on e-cigarettes  $LO currently holds a 42% market share..
  • Talk about putting cash to work.  AAPL has bought 24 companies in the last 18 months.  Searching for innovation allthewhile announcing an increase to their stock buyback, stock split and quarterly dividend to keep value investors in the name.  Oh, and an earnings beat once again to a low bar set.  Way to go Tim Cook.
  • The FCC said it will propose rules today that could give high-speed Internet providers more power on what content moves the fastest on the Web based on which firms pay th

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